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Best pregnancy care in the country

Antenatal fan, Tammy Hall and Ulla.Pregnant women in the Mountains are receiving some of the best care in the country, according to a government report released last week.
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The Nepean-Blue Mountains Medicare Local (NBMML) catchment area topped the rankings for antenatal care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and rated second for non-Indigenous women.

The report, Healthy Communities: Child and Maternal Health 2009-2012, highlights how children’s health outcomes can vary widely depending on where they live.

It found that 80.5 per cent of pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the Mountains area received at least one antenatal visit in the first trimester, the best performance of 61 Medicare Local catchments across Australia.

Early antenatal visits are important for monitoring the health of mothers and babies, for early detection of any complications and are strongly associated with good child health outcomes.

The percentage of non-indigenous women in the Mountains area who had at least one antenatal visit was 85.5 per cent, which was second in the rankings and on par with Sydney’s more affluent North Shore and Northern Beaches.

First-time mother Tammy Hall, from Wentworth Falls, said the antenatal services in the Mountains had been invaluable for her.

“We had a caseload midwife and did the four-week course at the hospital where they prepare you for the birth,” she said. “It was really useful.”

She was pleased, too, to have the same midwife every time she went to the hospital.

“It was also really nice to form some friendships with other women who are having their first babies. We go to mums groups and all the babies are at the same stage.”

Chairman of the NBMML board, Dr Shiva Prakash, said the report showed this area is punching above its weight in antenatal care.

He credited the Mountains-based Aboriginal Healthy for Life program and its partners with much of the success. “Healthy for Life is a program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people run by their own people and is widely recognised as a blueprint for closing the gap between outcomes of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians,” said Dr Prakash.

“The excellent results are also a direct result of the antenatal share care arrangements that have been in place across the area for many years. It is a testament to the long-standing commitment of GPs in the area and the close and effective working relationship between local doctors, Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, the Blue Mountains and Penrith Women’s Health Centres and the Aboriginal Coalition leading the Healthy for Life program.”

“The report also highlighted how important locally relevant strategies are to improving better health,” Dr Prakash said.

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Josh Reynolds’ meltdown a case for NRL to consider yellow- and red-card system

The brain explosion that led to Canterbury five-eighth Josh Reynolds facing a third judiciary appearance in six matches was the worst since the one that ended Travis Burns’ NRL career two years ago and should encourage the game to consider a yellow- and red-card system like football’s.
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While NRL officials were satisfied with the way referees Gerard Sutton and Alan Shortall dealt with Reynolds’ behaviour on Friday night, this column has been told they would have supported a decision to send the NSW Origin playmaker off for tripping former Bulldogs teammate Ben Barba in the 41-10 loss to Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.

The force with which he struck Barba in the right ankle after being side-stepped by his opposite number before later hitting Alex Glenn high should also have negated any benefit of the doubt Reynolds may have been afforded for earlier lashing out at Broncos skipper Sam Thaiday with his feet after being tackled.

In isolation, the Thaiday incident could be dismissed as lacking any real malice, but the way he acted afterwards, including his violent kicking of a chair in the dressing room after finally being despatched to the sin bin, suggested Reynolds was in a rage from the outset of the match.

He was placed on report for all three on-field incidents but only spent three minutes in the sin bin after being despatched by Sutton for his 77th minute high shot on Glenn.

However, if the NRL had a similar on-field disciplinary system to football, Reynolds would have been shown a yellow card for kicking Thaiday in the head and then sent off after receiving a second yellow for his trip on Barba – culminating in a red card.

The match-review committee charged Reynolds for both of those incidents but senior NRL officials considered the tripping offence to be worthy of a straight red card on its own.

Some within the game have compared Reynolds’ meltdown to the way Burns self-destructed while playing for Penrith against Sydney Roosters in 2012.

Burns, who was also a self-confessed “niggling player”, was released by the Panthers after receiving a 12-match ban for a chicken wing on Roosters forward Mose Masoe and a high shot on Martin Kennedy that resulted in him being sent off and becoming the first player in NRL history to be charged with an intentional high tackle.

Like Reynolds, Burns seemed to lose control of his emotions during the match and was a ticking time bomb before being given his marching orders in the 71st minute for the tackle that broke Kennedy’s nose.

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary said Burns’ role had been to “try and fire up his teammates” but admitted he had gone too far, and it appears Reynolds was attempting to do the same thing for a Canterbury team that had been struggling without him for all but three matches since round 10 because of Origin commitments and suspension.

After successfully having a dangerous-throw charge from Origin I downgraded, Reynolds received a three-match ban for a shoulder charge on Will Chambers in the series finale and had only returned in the previous weekend’s 22-16 loss to Penrith.

Bulldogs and NSW teammates enjoy playing with Reynolds because of his passion and competitiveness, and he has been good to deal with from a media perspective.

However, he appears to have become frustrated by the lack of energy and intensity within the team during their four-game losing streak and the 25-year-old went too far on Friday night in his attempts to lift those around him.

Canterbury skipper Michael Ennis said on Monday Reynolds was “certainly not a player who goes out there to get involved in those kind of incidents” but he was clearly “frustrated” after watching the team slump from equal first before his suspension to eighth place.

“You get that feeling, I think anyone does whether you have been out injured or out suspended or whatever the case is and your team has lost a couple of games, that you really want to try and turn it around for them,” Ennis told Sky Sports Radio.

“I think that is probably where Josh was at. You saw the incident where he kicked the chair, that was probably that frustration where he felt like he was finally back in the team, we didn’t get the win and to compound that he was placed on report a few times and felt like he had let us down.”

Having faced only one judiciary charge in four years before this year’s Origin series, Reynolds has also let himself down and will have more time on the sideline to consider his recent behaviour.

Twitter: @bradwalterSMH 

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Reynolds faces four week sanction

Josh Reynolds may not play again before the finals as the Bulldogs five-eighth faces up to four weeks on the sidelines after being hit with two judiciary charges following his brain snaps in the Bulldogs’ 41-10 loss to Brisbane on Friday night.
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Reynolds was not the only player to earn the ire of the match-review committee after nine players were charged. South Sydney’s George Burgess (two games), Junior Paulo (three) and Sam Tagataese (four) all face multiple weeks out.

Reynolds’ unravelling could still cost his team dearly, after the Bulldogs slid to eighth on the premiership ladder following four consecutive losses, and are in real danger of missing a finals spot. With 88 carry-over points, Reynolds will miss three weeks with an early guilty plea to both charges. He was hit with a grade-one dangerous contact with feet charge for striking Sam Thaiday, while his trip on former teammate Ben Barba had him charged with a grade two.

He was given a reprieve for his high tackle on Alex Glenn that resulted in his sin-binning. It is the fourth time Reynolds has been charged in recent games after facing the judiciary following Origin I. He had only recently returned from a three-game ban for a shoulder charge in Origin III.  Canterbury officials indicated following Friday’s game that they would consider fighting the tripping charge with the defence that he tried to grab Barba before striking him with his foot.

Reynolds felt he had let his teammates down. “I might have the nickname ‘grub’ but I don’t go out there to do those things,” Reynolds sad after Friday’s game.  “If anything, I felt like I let the boys down. It’s hard, if the fans feel like I let them down, then so be it.

“I don’t go out there to do it on purpose. Sometimes, the way I play, passion comes out the wrong way. I don’t mean to do that. I go out there to play my game.” The Bulldogs have until midday on Tuesday to lodge a plea.

The Rabbitohs have their own anguish, as Burgess is in danger of missing the next fortnight after he was charged with a chicken-wing tackle that forced Manly’s Steve Matai from the field. Teammate Issac Luke won’t miss a game for his part in the tackle, despite being charged with a grade one.

Luke said he spoke with Matai on the field after the tackle.

“I saw him go down and I tried to make sure he was all right,” Luke said. “He said he was sweet, so I carried on with the game. There’s no history between me and Steve. He is one of my countrymen. We love getting into each other. Me and Kieran Foran are the same.

“It wasn’t deliberate.”

Manly’s Josh Starling was also whacked with two grade-one charges, and faces one to two weeks on the sidelines. Carry-over points will cost Tariq Sims a game, while Tim Glasby and Dan Hunt will escape charges with early guilty pleas.

Judiciary charges:

–         Josh Reynolds (tripping, dangerous contact with feet) three to four games

–         George Burgess (unnecessary arm/shoulder pressure) two to three games

–         Issac Luke (unnecessary arm/shoulder pressure) zero to one game

–         Josh Starling (dangerous contact, unnecessary head/neck pressure) one to two games

–         Tim Glasby (careless high tackle) no games

–         Tariq Sims (unnecessary head/neck pressure) one game

–         Junior Paulo (dangerous throw) three to four games

–         Sam Tagataese (dangerous throw) four to six games

–         Dan Hunt (careless high tackle) no games.

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‘Blessing in disguise’: Hawks resigned to finishing outside top three

FOURTH PLACE: Hawks captain-coach Tim Mortimer and his troops are all but resigned to finishing fourth after their loss to Bathurst St Pat’s on Sunday. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0601hawks2ORANGE Hawks’ Group 10 premier league minor premiership dream was dashed on Sunday as the two blues lost a tough battle to now competition leaders Bathurst St Pat’s.
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Typifying the close nature of the 2014 competition, the 30-26 loss that shattered Hawks’ nine-game winning streak not only cost the Orange side a shot at the minor premiership but also virtually eradicated its top-three chances as well.

Slumping to fourth after the loss, Hawks now sit three points behind St Pat’s and one point behind Mudgee and Cowra – the latter had the bye last weekend and was consequently gifted third place with Hawks’ defeat.

Hawks must beat Bathurst Panthers in this weekend’s final round to have any chance of sneaking back into the top three, but with Cowra scheduled to tackle the lowly Blayney Bears and Mudgee having the bye the two blues are all but resigned to playing an elimination semi-final the week after.

Two blues’ captain-coach Tim Mortimer was left to lament his side’s lack of discipline after the loss and highlighted St Pat’s line speed as crucial.

He went on to say his troops know exactly how much the defeat looks to have cost them, adding he hopes it will act as a catalyst for his side’s assault on the post season.

STORY: St Pat’s take top spot as they end Hawks’ winning streak

“Pat’s got up out of defence really quick. They make you really work hard,” Mortimer explained.

“Our discipline wasn’t too great so we ended up fatiguing ourselves … I know the boys are a bit sad, it’s quiet there in the sheds, all we can do is turn this into a positive for us.

“By round five or six we were in the bottom two or three … just to be in the finals is a great effort after that.

“We’ve had a good run and now it’s time to get our heads right for the finals.

“This might be a blessing in disguise.”

With Orange CYMS tackling St Pat’s this weekend Mortimer’s men will also somewhat handle their cross-town rivals’ fate.

If Hawks win on Sunday, CYMS hang onto fifth spot. If Panthers win, CYMS need a victory over the competition leaders to feature in the play-offs.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

High cholesterol a killer in Blue Mountains

Residents of the Blue Mountains region and outer western Sydney are among the most likely to suffer from high cholesterol than anywhere else in the country according to a report released by The Heart Foundation last week.
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The geographical snapshot of cardiovascular disease (CVD) found the region – which includes the Blue Mountains, Penrith, Richmond to Windsor, and St Marys – had the highest rates of cholesterol in Australia at 57 per cent, meaning more than one in two adults have high cholesterol.

The region also had the seventh highest rate of CVD in Australia at 30.5 per cent, more than 29.5 per cent higher than the national population at 21.5 per cent, said Kerry Doyle, Heart Foundation NSW Chief Executive.

“We know that prevention is the key to reducing the rates of CVD in NSW.

“It’s more effective and less expensive than a cure which is why we are calling on individuals to take their health into their own hands and see their GP for a heart health check.”

High blood cholesterol is a major health concern in Australia.

Too much cholesterol in the blood causes fatty deposits to gradually build up in blood vessels. This makes it harder for blood to flow through, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.

According to the Heart Foundation the factors that increase the risks of serious problems associated with high cholesterol include smoking, having high blood pressure, being overweight or having diabetes.

The CSIRO is carrying out research to develop strategies for reducing cholesterol levels

For more details go to: www. CholesterolFacts.aspx.

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David Hayes gathers cups hopes for spring

This time last year David Hayes earmarked the Caulfield Cup for his gifted imported stayer Jet Away, and one year on the trainer is again grooming another European stayer for Australia’s second most important handicap.
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And Hayes is more than comfortable in predicting Spillway, a first-year import to his stable who starts his preparation on Saturday in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield, will together with Jet Away be his two major cup hopefuls.

In the 2013 Caulfield Cup, Jet Away was an unlucky fourth and Hayes is quietly optimistic that Spillway can be a possible contender this year.

Spillway returns from the paddock on Saturday but, according to Hayes, jumpouts and trials have showed the trainer he’s more than worth a Caulfield and Melbourne Cups campaign.

“He bolted in at his last start in Sydney during the autumn carnival and that was group 3, he spelled well, in fact he’s thrived in the winter months and I’ll be more than interested to see how he fares on Saturday.

“I know the race will be a bit short, and that might be his undoing, but he has impressed me in what he’s done for the long term.

“I took him to Flemington last Friday and he went well in a jumpout and Damien Oliver who rode him said that he would like to be on him in the Lawrence Stakes, so that’s a compliment in itself,” Hayes said.

Hayes is considering Jet Away, who is likely to have his first start later in the month, for the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington.

“He’s in great condition and we’re hopeful he can reproduce what he’s showed us during the spring last year,” Hayes said.

Hayes hopes both stayers will give him the opportunity of group 1 success this spring.

As well Hayes will present highly talented three-year-old Moonlight Hussler, a winner of his only start at Caulfield last spring.

“He was so impressive winning at his only race start that we had high ambitions for him that included the Blue Diamond and the Golden Slipper but he broke down in the shoulder region and that meant he missed a lot of racing.

“I’ll be excited to see how he goes but he, like Spillway, may need the run,” he said.

The P.B. Lawrence has attracted 16 nominations including dual group 1 winner Foreteller, the Chris Waller-trained galloper who beat Puissance De Lune in last year’s Makybe Diva Stakes.

Peter Moody has nominated this year’s Blamey Stakes winner, Lidari, as well as 2012 Queensland Derby winner Brambles and import Kitten On the Run.

And high-profile horse Carlton House has been retired from racing and will stand at Darley Stud this spring.

Originally with Sir Michael Stoute in England, Carlton House was trained in Australia by Gai Waterhouse and had his final start when third in the race named for his owner, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, during the autumn.

The winner of two group races under Stoute, he also ran third in the Epsom Derby and was second to So You Think in the Prince of Wales Stakes.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Wartime through the medic’s lens

Norman Lindsay’s acting manager Gaye McKenna with one of Charles Ryan photographs, part of the War Memorial’s exhibition at the gallery until September 15. Photo: Shane Desiatnik.A camera on Gallipoli, a series of photographs by medic Charles Ryan while he served with the Australian Imperial Forces in Turkey in 1915, is now on display at the Norman Lindsay Gallery in Faulconbridge.
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Part of the Australian War Memorial’s touring exhibition to commemorate the centenary of World War I, the 39 candid photographs from the noted Australian surgeon show some of the struggles behind the ill-fated 1915 Gallipoli campaign – everything from eating the tinned bully beef to getting regularly shot at while bathing in Anzac Cove.

Norman Lindsay’s is the first of 30 regional locations to host the exhibition which officially opened last Thursday and acting manager Gaye McKenna said she couldn’t be happier to have the “confronting” works visit.

“They really bring the war to life,” Mrs McKenna said of the graphic reproductions which show, among others, the Turks and the Australians inspecting their dead on the battlefield. She said the exhibit was “important because of Norman’s own connection”.

Lindsay’s war effort involved drawing striking Australian war propaganda to drive recruitment – following the death of his brother at the Somme.

The Australian War Memorial’s acting manager for travelling exhibitions, Amanda Burrows, who is currently travelling with the exhibit, said even Lindsay’s much loved children’s classic The Magic Pudding had echoes of that war propaganda.

“Some say the pudding resembles his propaganda image of the German soldier,” she said.

Some of Lindsay’s war posters stand alongside the Charles photographs but the Faulconbridge gallery is also planning a larger exhibit for next April to coincide with Anzac Day. The War Memorial is also in the process of “reproducing Lindsay’s originals [war posters] in large scale” for their World War I rooms next February, Miss Burrows said.

Meanwhile a digital version of Ryan’s photographs is available to schools, libraries and other community groups to own and reproduce, with applications being accepted online through the War Memorial’s website.

Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson said Ryan’s photographs offered “real insight into the dry forbidding landscape, exhausted troops in trenches [and] squalid dugouts.

“Their mateship, stoicism and endurance underpin the photographs and embody the meaning of the Anzac spirit.”

Visitors to the gallery will also learn about Charles Ryan’s remarkable life. Ryan had served as a doctor with the Turkish army in 1877-78 and also treated infamous bushranger Ned Kelly after his final stand at Glenrowan.

A camera on Gallipoli is on display at the gallery until September 15. Free after gallery exhibition ($12 adults, $10 concession).

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Teachers’ union says WA government has slashed $200 million

The WA teachers’ union says the state government has slashed almost $10 million from school funding.The WA teachers’ union says the state government has slashed almost $200 million from school funding. State School Teachers Union president Pat Byrne said four schools would lose more than $850,000 – but not one school would gain as much. “According to our calculations, the top 20 losers will lose a total of around $14 million, while the top 20 winners would only gain a total of around $4.3 million,” she said. “Those that are losing money are being hit hard, while the winners will have only moderate gains.” She said while some schools would gain under the move to a new funding model, the gains came on the back of heavy losses due to funding cuts last year. “If the state government had brought in the student-centred funding model on the back of funding increases, as was originally intended, WA’s public schools would be better off,” Ms Byrne said. A spokesperson said several low socio-economic schools were among “Top 20 losers”. “The top 10 biggest losers are all high schools and include Churchlands, Kelmscott, Mount Lawley, Kununurra and Shenton College.” Education minister Peter Collier said public schools would receive a record amount of funding in 2015 under the student-centred funding model.
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“$4.58 billion has been allocated in the 2014-15 State Budget, and $4.86 billion in 2015-16,” Mr Collier said.

“This new funding model is fair and equitable, and reflects the central findings of a review of the Western Australian public school funding system by Melbourne University.

“Every school will get the same amount of funding for each student depending on their year level.

“On top of this will be funding for students who need extra support.

“In the past, incredibly complex budget formulae have led to inexplicable and often massive differences in funding for very similar schools.

“The new budget model will ensure the funding goes where the students are, and to the students who need it most.

“Over time the model will also deliver more funding for children in the early years of their schooling, where research shows it’s most needed.

“A five-year transition period will ensure schools have time to adjust to their new budgets.

“Where schools need to make adjustments to programs, it will be up to the principal and the school board or community to decide what is best for their school.” Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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Town hall hits century

CELEBRATION: Kentish Mayor Don Thwaites in the throes of party preparations for the town hall centenary.JOIN in and celebrate 100 years of history this month as Sheffield commemorates the centenary of its town hall.
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On Wednesday, August 20, the Kentish Council has organised a number of events to recognise the contribution the hall has made to the town and region’s history.

Mayor Don Thwaites said he would be giving tours of the hall, which is a much loved part of the town.

“In the morning we’ve got school kids coming through, we’ve opened it up to let groups of young people come through and we’ll take them into bits of the town hall that they haven’t been into before,” he said.

“We’ll take them into the old meeting room and the projection room, they’ll be on the stage and down underneath the stage, in the dressing rooms and in the gallery.”

Councillor Thwaites said during the tour he will talk about each of the rooms and about the building itself.

“We’ll also be talking about the history of the place, when it was built, where the bricks came from and who the builder was and how they paid for it, it’s all a very interesting story when you go into it,” he said.

“We’ll talk about some of the things that have happened in the hall over the years, such as it has hosted RSL gatherings since during the war and it’s hosted lots of debutante balls and dances and music halls, there’s been lots of public meetings and they’ve had carpets there for sale, even weddings.”

The hall will be open to the public in the afternoon for tours until 2pm but these must be booked ahead.

In the evening a cocktail function will be held to celebrate in style and a replica cake of the town Hall will be made for the occasion.

“We’ve got a very short, old film that we are going to show and we are planning on a bit of music and a bit of a tour again much like what we are giving to the young,” Cr Thwaites said.

For more information or to RSVP for either event call the Kentish Council on 6491 0200.

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Reverend Mel Macarthur celebrates life on the road to Santiago

Cancer survivor Reverend Mel Macarthur of Wentworth Falls won’t let a life threatening illness slow him down. He leaves to walk the 900 kilometres Camino de Santiago next month with his wife Anne Lawrence, his second pilgrimage to Spain in as many years. “No one wants to have cancer, but there are experiences I value since being a cancer patient.”He has an inspiring story, and he’s about to add a few more page-turning chapters to it.
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Reverend Mel Macarthur of Wentworth Falls, 68, has endured six cycles of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant since being diagnosed with lymphoma a decade ago, but that will not deter him from walking the El Camino de Santiago for the second time in as many years, next month.

Popularised in the movie, The Way, the former Central Blue Mountains Uniting Church minister will be one of more than 100,000 pilgrims from over 100 countries to make the trek to Spain this year, making the Camino the most famous pilgrimage in the world.

Rev Macarthur finds the Christian pilgrimage to the 9th century cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north-western Spain, where the apostle Saint James is said to be buried, so enjoyable, he is doing a doctorate on pilgrimages and hopes one day to take groups of other cancer survivors, or troubled adolescents (he has a background in youth work) on the same journey.

“I appreciate my pilgrimages and remote area hikes much more as a cancer patient than I did in my pre-cancer days.

“For me the Camino is the opportunity to have five or six weeks to reflect on life. The international nature appeals to me very much. The people I meet along the way are the highlight.”

It’s not his first pilgrimage. He rode from Dublin to Jerusalem via Rome in 1998. And two years later he did a bike trip from Sydney to Alice Springs. He’s completed many more since then in Australia and overseas.

“My pilgrimages have all brought about changes in me in one way or another. Periods of deep reflection and deep connection with other people sharing the long journey tend to both influence and inform me. Sometimes it can be transformative”.

Crediting his good health to the Nepean Hospital Cancer Care Centre, he sees the walk as “honouring them”. One centre staff member – “the person who put the first canula in my arm 10 years ago” – had even accompanied him on his many pilgrimages to Tasmania, he said.

“The staff at the Nepean Hospital Cancer Care Centre have put time, effort and expertise into my treatment and to use my potentials to their fullest is to honour their efforts in extending my life. It is a priceless gift they have given me. All of my fitness and discipline could never have brought it about without their care, skill and knowledge.”

He says the spiritual “life affirming” journeys “keep him off the streets” and he’s looking forward to his wife Anne Lawrence and friend, Ian Curtois of Hazelbrook, joining him on this trip.

Rev Macarthur said that “commonality of purpose and camaraderie along the Way do make the ending rather special” and while his body will take him he’ll give thanks “for that body and the discipline that will take me to Santiago”.

“My non Hodgkins lymphoma is in remission currently. I feel confident enough about my health to have undertaken another doctorate at the beginning of this year.

“However, my lymphoma has relapsed once before, five years after my six cycles of chemotherapy and antibody therapy. So, who knows what the future holds?

“What I can say is I plan to pursue my physical, intellectual and spiritual activities unrelentingly. If that worked out to be for not very much longer, that would be OK; it would be preposterous of me to complain of such an eventuality when it has been 10 years since my diagnosis, 10 years crammed with great, life shaping experiences.”

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